Pentagon is tracking a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon, considered shooting it down

OK, this is weird. Civilians in a commercial airliner caught sight of something in the air and reported it. The Pentagon did some searching and determined that it was a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon. President Joe Biden opted to shoot it down, but the Pentagon decided the risk of harming people on the ground was too high … so it’s just still up there being monitored by NORAD.

BREAKING from @PentagonPresSec: “The US government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The US government, to include NORAD, continues to track and monitor it closely.”

— Matt Seyler (@MattSeyler) February 2, 2023

Ryder added the balloon is “currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.” He said once detected the US acted to “protect against the collection of sensitive information.”

— Matt Seyler (@MattSeyler) February 2, 2023

The balloon is Chinese, per a senior defense official. The official told reporters the US considered shooting the it down while it was over sparsely-populated areas in Montana yesterday, but due to its large size, decided the risk of harming people on the ground was too high.

— Matt Seyler (@MattSeyler) February 2, 2023

The senior official added that the US has “engaged PRC officials with urgency through multiple channels” over the issue.

— Matt Seyler (@MattSeyler) February 2, 2023

The benefits of shooting the balloon down were outweighed by the risks, according to the official. “Currently we assessed that this balloon has limited additive value from an intelligence collection perspective,” the official said.

— Matt Seyler (@MattSeyler) February 2, 2023

“Biden was presented with options and proposed that the high-altitude balloon be shot down after it was spotted and reported by civilians in a commercial airliner, U.S. officials said. The Pentagon feared civilian casualties, and opted not to…” https://t.co/kxyI4fhzC3

— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) February 2, 2023

That will give Secretary of State Antony Blinken a good conversation starter when he visits China in the coming days.

It’s a balloon… pic.twitter.com/IrjF0OJy7V

— Steve Sharp (@reaganmoe2) February 2, 2023

There are no dumb questions, right? What is the balloon made of that if it were shot down it could pose such a risk? Wondering when we could consider that collateral damage “worth it”?

What’s the point of China using it if it can’t bring much “additive value”?

— Waiting4theTrumpet (@Waiting4Trumpet) February 2, 2023

I hope we know it’s not an EMP

— Bill Petersen (@WBPetersen) February 2, 2023

Bring it down

— AS (@joe123080) February 2, 2023

pic.twitter.com/HoW25xIpxz

— Sketch 40 Deuce (@Sketch40Deuce) February 2, 2023

Not shooting this down immediately is weakness.

— Schreiberovich (@Parksnet20) February 2, 2023

Why not just shoot it down?

— HonkHonk (@LionsDenBanshee) February 2, 2023

How big is the balloon if they’re afraid it will cause casualties?!

— Korey Heightman (@KoreyHeightman) February 2, 2023

Smoke it

— J.A. Mills (@Jonstone69) February 2, 2023

***

Update:

Here’s a photo:

PHOTO – Chinese spy balloon over Montana, United States — KSVI-TV pic.twitter.com/qVbzLCWF5y

— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) February 2, 2023

3 x US Air Force Stratotankers have been spotted flying over Montana.

Meanwhile there are reports in media about a Chinese spy balloon flying over Montana.https://t.co/i2BJi32IXG pic.twitter.com/zxN1q97v1A

— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 2, 2023

***

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Related:

‘Did Fang Fang write this?’ Rep. Eric Swalwell’s effort to distract from his Chinese spy friend now involves Tucker Carlson https://t.co/sql2zYTX7h

— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) December 19, 2020

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